No time for lengthy preambles this week, SouthParkateers. Suffice it to say, if you recall our metaphor of choice, Trey Parker and Matt Stone finally got a ball to go into Jennifer Love Hewitt’s mouth last week to end a trying three-episode skid. How’d they pull it off? By successfully tapping into what it feels like to live in Giant Douche’s America. Just as “Put It Down” captured the fear, frustration, and exhaustion of daily life with the Tweeter-in-Chief in the Oval Office, “Doubling Down” delved into the question most of us ask whenever we see approval polls: How the fuck can 30% of this country still be in love with this orange orangutan’s anus? Perfectly casting Cartman as Giant Douche, the smart and totally funny Heidi as a typical Doucher, and everykid Kyle as the rest of us (a bunch of dirty Jews), Parker and Stone made the argument that our told-ya-so criticism and cornering of Douchers only causes them to double down on their douchiness. Now, I’m not sure about all of that, but what I do know is that a single ball in Jenner Love Hewitt’s mouth does not a season make. Time to head on down to South Park again with Season 21 still very much hanging in the balance.
Last episode concluded with Heidi the Doucher going back to South Park’s plumpest douchbag, Eric Cartman. So, when “Moss Piglets” opens with the fourth grade girls lamenting Heidi’s choice and how she’s become more like Cartman, we’re not entirely caught by surprise, and we assume that maybe the extremely non-vegan Beyond KFC has padded on a few pounds. And then we see Heidi. Not only does she look as though she’s been pounding Weight Gain 4000 (Beefcake!) like it’s the antidote, but it’s clear in all ways, including voice, she’s become the female Eric Cartman. And what does a giant douche like Cartman do better than anything else? That’s right: play victim and blame others. So, when Mr. Mackey reminds Heidi of her promise to judge the school’s Special Ed Science Fair on a Saturday, she needs to find someone, anyone to blame for how the whole world seems to be conspiring against her. Who’s going to feel her wrath: blacks, Muslims, the 1987 Denver Broncos? Nope, the real group out there that’s victimizing forgotten Americans like Heidi: children with handicaps.
That’s right. It’s the most magical time of the year in the trailer out back that serves as the South Park Elementary special ed. science labs: the Special Ed Science Fair. That means blue ribbons, fantastic discoveries made by Jimmy and Timmy (the Watson and Crick of South Park Elementary), and a papier mâché volcano by Nathan and Mimsy that’s sure to win first place and score them major — help us out, Jimmy — pupa-pupa-pussy. Unfortunately, Jimmy, always Nathan’s cock blocker, and Timmy’s experiments with Water Bears (eight-legged, marine micro-animals) threaten to thwart their adversaries’ dreams of ribbons and bitches. But, sadly, science doesn’t win on this day. Between Nathan and Mimsy’s backfiring acts of sabotage, Heidi’s crusade to not keep her promises, and Jerry Jones and fellow NFL owners’ gun-point attempt to hijack the project in order to develop new football fans to replace flag worshipers, well, let’s just say the episode doesn’t end in scientific breakthrough. Not unless snuggles and farts count.
Credit Parker and Stone with some creative ideas: Cartman being out-Cartmaned by Heidi (or anyone) serves him right 21 seasons in, and her behavior all episode — crying victim, whining, and scapegoating those who face real obstacles — were tried-and-true Giant Douche moves. But the major opportunity missed here was for another classic Jimmy and Timmy vs. Nathan and Mimsy Looney Tunes episode, with the first two oblivious as always and the latter plotting and scheming their way right into getting fucked by a shark. But Lake Tardicaca or “Handicar” this is not as Parker and Stone again attempt to force current events down the show’s throat by bringing in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and commenting on the NFL’s sagging attendance due to player protests during the national anthem. Apart from watching the Water Bears take an interest in Fedex (a major sponsor of the league) and sport cute, little jerseys, it’s a twist that derails a proven formula in an attempt to be topical.
Quick, Robin. To the scorecard for the tardigrade!
Episode MVP: Heidi Turner. I hear Oscar calling. The physical dilapidation, complete with zits and butt crack showing. The gravelly voice work. The extreme narcissism. The belching, the farting, the snuggles. Her female version of Cartman will go down as one of the all-time great actor transformations. Fuck, Daniel Day-Lewis. Who needs him?
Best Moment: After Heidi threatens to sue the administration for discrimination if the Special Ed Science Fair isn’t cancelled, Mr. Mackey turns to PC Principal and says, “She’s kinda like Eric Cartman only with the ability to follow through.” It’s a scary thought and perhaps a dig at Giant Douche. Just imagine if he was capable enough to actually accomplish any of his goals. <Shivers> Frightening.
The Quotable South Park: “Gee, I don’t know if we should use our position of power to exploit women, Boss,” Mimsy tells Nathan before being silenced with yet another smack. At least somebody gets it! Mimsy may be simple, but this isn’t all that complicated.
Song of the South Park: Of all the sound waves in all the worlds, Water Bears prefer Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” above all others. No wonder critics largely panned it. Swift makes music strictly for marine lifeforms these days. This one goes out to all you moss piglets out there. Don’t be shy.
Oh, My God! They Spared Kenny: Have you taken a peek around the world today lately? Let’s face it: Kenny is a million times safer than us inside the television as a background character.
I Learned Something Today: Forcing topicality remains the show’s most crippling kryptonite.
Garrison’s Grade Book: C+